Launching into Expression

***Pictures to come. Flickr isn’t being friendly at the moment***

The last few weeks have been busy. We’ve explored the stories of the Chinese immigrants in Chinatown, researched sea creatures, made paper mache models, prepared declarations, and even made lunch for the entire school. Now it’s time to fully launch into projects. This time around we have a wonderful collection of projects that truly speak to each Teal Bander and their interests. Below is their proposed project introduction from their declarations.

SelinaI am proposing to do a series of experiments on algae:

  • It turns out that the limiting factor of algae growth is the amount of iron in the water. In combination with researching how much oxygen algae produces per square inch and calculate the amount of algae that would need to be grown to counter the carbon footprint produced by the average family, I would like to try increasing the amount of iron in the water to figure out how much iron would need to be dumped into the ocean to counter the family’s carbon footprint production. This could be used in huge quantities to stop, or at least slow down, global warming.
  • Growing algae in different solutions such as different salinities and pHs to observe possible variation in growth rate.
  • Growing algae in polluted environments to observe what effect global warming/pollution will have on algae growth in the future.
  • Try growing Euglena gracilis, a type of algae, under a heat lamp. Euglena gracilis is a type of algae that, when grown in temperature from 31 to 35 c, loses it’s color and turns white.

Along with my experiments, I want to write a small research paper on sea anemones, specifically the giant green anemone, and their symbiotic relationship with algae.

PiperFor my project, I am proposing to learn about the ways people and organizations help to save sea turtles. I will write a research paper on sea turtles and the reasons they need saving and the ways people work to save them. I will also find an organization to support. I will make sea creature stuffed animals to sell and raise money for the organization. I will include a little “bio” about each type of sea creature with them.

Patrick: (In the works…the poor guy’s been sick)

NoraFor my project, I will be trying to figure out why sargassum is suddenly coming to the shore in mounds and mounds making it impossible to swim.  I will also write a paper on sargassum, along with making a detailed model that would explain all of the different parts (e.g. the purpose of the grape-like balls filled with air so they will float on the surface of the water.)

Jonah: For my project, I am proposing to build a mini hydropower plant. This hydropower plant will use water to power a light bulb. Water will travel through a canal and over a waterwheel to create the power. As this is my first project, I want to take on something that won’t be too difficult, but is still fun, so I can take my time learning about the project phase. Huxley is helping me with the understanding of the energy flow. I think the hardest part about my project will be getting power from the generator to light the light bulb. I will also be researching hydropower, such as the positives and negatives of its use and creation.

JaredMy proposed project is on dolphin communication and echolocation. Dolphins are seen as highly intelligent and appear to have a language of their own that consists of whistles and clicks. I am interested in researching more about how they communicate with one another and their communication process in general, both through sounds and body language. Along with communicating, they use their clicks to help them echolocate. I will be writing a research paper and creating a short documentary on dolphin communication and echolocation.

HuxleyInstantly inflatable devices for drowning prevention have been released out into the market, however, their compressed CO2 system does not allow them to be larger scale than a personal device such as a bracelet that inflates to the size of a small balloon. Super-corroding alloys are made by combining a noble metal and a highly corrosive metal. When in contact with water, the noble metal forces the corrosive metal to corrode at an extremely accelerated rate, forming corrosive metal hydroxide or oxide, and a gigantic amount of H2. I want to create a instantly inflatable flotation device using supercoroding alloys, as proof of concept that this process would be able to produce a larger scale flotation device.

FreddieI, Fredrica Lipsett would like to propose my By Sea arc project where I study the natural history and evolution of barnacles. I would like to:

  • write a research paper,
  • make a major evolutionary family tree poster
  • do a dissection of both barnacle species  
  • anatomical drawings and draw diagrams of barnacles.

As there are over 1,400 different species of barnacles, I have decided to do my research on two specific barnacles. The first is the Acorn Barnacle which is the most common and the second is the Buoy Barnacles.

AuroraFor my project I am interested in researching the transportation of goods by sea. This project would include a number of parts:

  • Tracking an object from where it was made to Brightworks.
  • Interviewing experts in manufacturing and shipping to understand the manufacturing and delivery process.
  • Research how goods are packaged, how efficient it is to ship them from point A to point B by cargo ship, as well as how truck and train transportation affects the cost, monetarily and environmentally.
  • Make a model of a shipping container that, in an emergency, will float so that there will not be so many shipping containers at the bottom of the ocean where they scrape the hulls of boats and hurt the ecosystems.

These next seven weeks will be another wonderful adventure through the Expression Phase.

 

Approved and Off Running

It’s celebration time! All the of Teal Band project declarations were approved by the start of this week and they are all off running with their project work. To begin the celebration, here are all their wonderful “school photos” from this year.

Teal Band 2016/2017 – You can’t miss how special and unique they all are.

A few of them quickly found out how important it is to check on shipping times of products. When you want a product at a price that fits your budget, sometimes it’s coming from the other side of the planet and won’t arrive until the week of presentations. This realization was a great eye opener in regards to planning and being proactive in general. Huxley used this challenge as a way to re-evaluate his design in a way that pricier parts could be used, but fewer would be needed. Patrick and Jared continued to check in with their expert, Jack, to look for alternatives and find ways to save money in other places.

When you need to re-evaluate your design, Gever is an excellent expert.

Selina, Aurora, and Nora would be happy to work around the clock on their project if they were allowed to. While their project might be on ancient civilizations, they are certainly learning about a lot more than just that. They are learning to work successfully in a group with good friends, learning to hold one another accountable for her piece of the project, and how to write formulas in Google Sheets to track all their “resources.”

Piper experienced her first Expression Phase moment of “YESSSSS!” this past week while looking at a Google Maps driving route from Slide Ranch to her home. She figured out how she wants to present this portion of her project and it most certainly screams Piper. It’s moments like this that make all the stresses of a project completely worth it.

Sometimes it just takes looking at something in a new way to get your best idea yet.

Just like naturalists working to track down the story of the urban coyote migration to San Francisco and it’s surrounding areas, Freddie is working to track down her experts to get a piece of the story. We talked early on in the Expression Phase as a band about the importance of making initial contact with experts during declaration writing. Freddie did just that, but as is with many “experts,” they are just so busy with their everyday job responsibilities that they take quite some time to respond to the questions of a student. She is learning to adjust her schedule to work with the schedules of others while still being productive. A skill that will benefit her for a lifetime to come.

On top of their “By Land” projects, the Teal Band is still trying to complete their bridge project. This week they finished measuring and cutting the fabric and began the sewing portion. Huxley and Jared got lessons on sewing from Piper and Lindsay while the rest of the band worked to finish cutting the panels.

It takes a team to get all the measurements and cutting taken care of.

Jared gets a lesson on sewing from Lindsay.

And on top of all their hard work, the Teal Band still knows how to make one another laugh and smile….and me as well….with a silly morning welcome 🙂

 

It’s Time to Declare Those Projects

The week leading up to winter break and this first week back have been spent preparing for the Expression Phase of the By Land Arc. We spent time brainstorming project ideas and the routes to take to complete them. We worked together to create a declaration for our ‘Brightworks on a Bus’ (BOAB) band project. We talked about how the declaration is just as important as the final product.

Our By Land brainstorm included types of projects that could be completed, as well as ideas for the project.

We worked together to write up a declaration for our Brightworks on a Bus project.

We talked about how important it is to plan ahead and make time for multiple iterations.

For the next five weeks, the Teal Band will be working on an incredible collection of projects. Here is a sneak peek into what they will be working on.

Selina, Aurora, and Nora’s project introduction:

We find it really interesting how ancient civilizations, with their limited supplies and technology, managed to create their own modes of travel and use them to trade and thrive. Even today, people are thinking of new ways of transportation, because without transportation, we couldn’t trade or expand our cities and civilizations. Transportation allows growth, and in ancient times, it was a necessity. For our project, we want to each create our own civilization in three very different terrains, and experiment with different forms of transportation that would best suit our different landscapes. After we come up with a few different forms of transportation, we want to design them in GoogleSketchUpp and create to-scale models. While we are doing this, we will make maps of our civilizations and the civilizations we created will be trading with each other. We will also research what sort of resources there are in our landscapes, and build our civilization off of those. Every day each civilization will gain a certain amount of resources that they can use or trade. Our final product will be to-scale models of three different forms of transportation and maps of our civilizations.

Patrick and Jared’s proposed project introduction:

We are hoping to build an RC car. Now, the real question is will you let us?  Jared wanted to build a remote control car and Patrick wanted to help him through the first real project arc of the year. We decided to build an RC car first because we thought that we should take baby steps until we make a bigger version which you could ride in. Also, it would help both of us learn multiple things and become better friends along the way.

 

Piper’s proposed project introduction:

How does Slide Ranch get yarn to us? I would make a map to show how it would travel from being on a sheep to nice yarn that can be used and sold. I want to do this project because I love using yarn, and I want to know how it gets to me.

Freddie’s project introduction:

I, Fredrica Lipsett would like to propose my by land arc project where I study the migration patterns of urban coyotes and create a map showing their general locations. We have many urban coyotes in the Bay Area and I have always wondered, “How did they get here?” So, for my project I would like to learn why they have migrated here over the last number of years. I would also like learn about their habitat and how people track them. I’m interested because at Bernal Hill (where I live) there is a coyote living there and I am intrigued about how it got there. We have 70 Coyotes in San Francisco but no one knows if they came as a pack or if they came from different places in California and beyond.

Huxley’s proposed project introduction:

Dispelling fear of Maglev technology/electrodynamic suspension.

A Maglev is a high-speed train that uses repelling magnetic fields to levitate. The lack of friction allows Maglevs to achieve speeds of 603 km/h, while using only around half the energy a normal bullet train needs.

The Maglev is far more efficient, less polluting, and much faster than any other type of train, so why aren’t we seeing them everywhere?

Because most humans are afraid of the unknown, and therefore afraid of change. Protests have been set up because some people believe that they will be bombarded with harmful radioactivity from the Maglev. No scientific research supports this, and yet the protesters still believe, because they are afraid of the unknown, and new emerging technologies are classified as unknown. The same scenario is happening with self-driving cars, and has happened with smartphones.

In order for Maglev to become a reality, we need to dispel this fear. To do this, I propose that we make an RC toy, using Maglev technology.

How it works:

If a spinning magnetic field is placed on top of a conductive non-magnetic material, such as copper in the form of sheet metal, It will create eddy currents in the metal. Following Lenz’s law,

The direction of current induced in a conductor by a changing magnetic field due to faraday’s law of induction will be such that it will create a field that opposes the change that produced it.
The eddy currents will create a magnetic field that opposes the magnetic field that created it. A series of electromagnets in a ring, pulsing at specific times, could create this spinning magnetic field. If provided enough energy, this should keep a small vehicle aloft. Other rings of electromagnets on the sides of the vehicle could be pulsed in order to steer.

 

 

Researchers and Window Farmers

Harry Potter Herbology, catnip, wolves in Yellowstone, lending libraries, and bamboo in the morning. Window farming in the afternoon. The last few weeks have been filled with researching, experimenting and building.

Each morning during our personal project time, our Chartreuse Band research team has been spending its time taking notes while reading up on a variety of topics. Looking to bolster their collections of online resources, we travelled to the library to check out books. We’ve had mini lessons on note taking and organization, considering their audience, and writing outlines. They are beginning to see that taking these steps will help them write a stronger, more organized and thorough research paper.

To support their research, they have been working on various projects. Our bamboo researchers, Selina and Aurora, are looking forward to building small items such as cups and cat bowls out of bamboo they were gifted by the All In Common Community Garden. Luckily for them, they have bamboo (bike) expert Piper in the building who has shown them how to blow torch their bamboo as the first step to heat treating it.

Drying out bamboo. #chartreuseband #seed #bamboo #blowtorches #sfbrightworks

A video posted by Brightworks Chartreuse Band (@bwxmelissa) on

Drying out bamboo. #chartreuseband #seed #bamboo #blowtorches #sfbrightworks

A video posted by Brightworks Chartreuse Band (@bwxmelissa) on

bamboo

Clementine is focused on designing and building lending libraries for local community gardens. She’s learning Google SketchUp to assist her in the design and planning of her libraries. Her design includes a planter on top to help incorporate the library into the surrounding garden. Her next steps include conducting a book drive to collect books to supply the libraries with.

Cutting boards for community garden lending libraries. #chartreuseband #seed #lendinglibraries #sfbrightworks

A video posted by Brightworks Chartreuse Band (@bwxmelissa) on

This past weekend, Nora sent home bundles of fresh catnip with a number of cat owning students at Brightworks, along with a link to a questionnaire to complete once they have given their cats the catnip. She’s very excited to compare the Brightworks’ cat population results to those of research she’s read about.

catnip questionnaire

Justin and Quinn have been improving their Prezi skills as a way to present their research on the impact the return of the grey wolf to Yellowstone Park had on its native plants. Trudy is looking forward to creating a few models based on her Harry Potter Herbology and magical plant research.

Our afternoons switch to group project time, and my team has been working hard at building a window farm. After researching the necessary supplies and creating a spreadsheet organizing them, we took a trip to Lowe’s to purchase the last remaining items we couldn’t find online. They’ve drank lots of bottled water (thanks Blue Band for helping us out) in order to empty the plastic bottles needed to house the growing plants, before applying a coat of white spray paint needed to protect the plants’ roots. They planted seeds in rock wool growcubes. They carved out and drilled out holes to create openings, for plants to grow and plumbing to go. They strung them up with paracord and learned how to straighten out our curled up vinyl tubing (hot water is a lifesaver). This coming week we must tackle the trickiest part: the plumbing system.

window farming project

window farming project

window farming project

window farming project

window farming project

window farming project

window farming project

Window farming

In the end, the BWX Window Farmers hope to grow enough food to share with their band and hopefully the entire school community.

edits and more edits

Edits and more edits on Movie arc projects.

Ian carefully shapes his fire alarm prop for Quinn’s zombie movie.

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Harry reviews his scenes for his practical effects film.

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Quinn’s zombies get ready for their close-ups.

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Evan knocks out his to-do list of edits.

@evan_sfbrightworks knocking out a to-do list of edits we discussed this morning. 😄

Jane prepares her final storyboard for Pugzilla!

@janedawsonbwx prepares her final storyboard for Pugzilla!

Amelia has one of the most thorough and detailed website portfolios in the Blue Band. She’s adding descriptions for the videos she created this arc.

Amelia has one of the most thorough and detailed website portfolios in the band. She's currently adding descriptions for the videos she created this arc.

JP slays pesky grainy footage in Adobe After Effects.

@jp.barbagelata slays pesky grainy footage in Adobe After Effects

Laurel and Josh take some time for some much-needed swing maintenance.

@_laurelpikachu and @coasterfreekjoshsf take some time for some much needed swing maintenance

Jack secluded himself under the Theater Room stairs to source images for his film history video.

Jack secluded himself under the Theater Room stairs to source images for his film history video

Aidan spray-paints his painstakingly detailed airplane model outside on the ledge.

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Full house in the new Phillip Fillastre Treehouse Institute for Science and Technology! 😎✌️ AKA the shiny computer lab of editing and working students.

Full house in the new Phillip Fillastre Treehouse Institute for Science and Technology 😎✌️

lots of filming

Lots of filming and refilming, lots of coordinating and learning from mistakes, lots of high emotions and stress and productivity to be had these days at the Brightworks Movie Studio…

The Green Band learned about digital animation from Michelangelo.

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Khalia’s set for her movie-in-a-week challenge.

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Max’s yellow wallpaper came for his movie of The Yellow Wallpaper, based on his script from the Book arc!

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On set for The Yellow Wallpaper.

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Green Band at Glen Park, filming Julian’s Roman battle epic.

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The Red Band has been learning about bees and pollination from Rich.

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Indigo Band meets.

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Green Band, more movie screening and filming.

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Josh experiments with digital animation.

@coasterfreekjoshsf animating the crap outta some dragons! 🔥🐍

Laurel and JP in the new editing lab between the Blue and Green bandspaces.

Yay Adobe After Effects!

Quinn is finishing the last pieces of his zombie movie… with lots of makeup.

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@janedawsonbwx as a zombie!

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book arc projects

We’ve been back from winter break for a week and projects are really starting to pick up steam! At Brightworks, we have become more deliberate about project time and have set out several parameters that students must meet in order to be able to work on their own, completely independent project for the arc.

Students working on independent projects…
– Take initiative.
– Seek challenges outside your comfort zone.
– Embrace assigned work, even if you’re not initially excited by it.
– Finish tasks.
– Remember responsibilities without being reminded. Come prepared.
– Choose to bring work home.
– Seek and incorporate feedback.
– Show resilience in the face of failure.
– Treat others with love, respect and consideration.

Many students reach this point and, with the help and guidance of their collaborator, plan their independent project work for the arc. Most of the students in the Indigo Band are at this point, working on screenplay adaptations of books, short story collections, or memoirs. The Green Band is also dividing into smaller independent projects that are direct offshoots of the experts and experiences from the exploration phase of the Book arc.

But during expression for the Book arc, many students are choosing to work with their band on a group project, a single idea or goal that each student finds an individual pathway to. These group projects are independent projects in disguise, but provide collaborators with a greater ability to manage eight complex pathways and give students the best opportunity to succeed as they work through both the project itself and project management skills that they may not have perfected yet.

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For example, the Orange Band as a whole is working on a creating a computer game based on the story arc and using the coding that they have been learning from Gever, and each student is taking a route to that end goal with a different approach – text adventure or choose-your-own-adventure story – and their own plotlines.

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The project for the Blue Band is a book of the school year, based on all eight students’ blog posts since the beginning of the last arc. They have divided up the various events and experiences since September – the Mendocino trip, the Rosetta comet landing sleepover, various building projects, NaNoWriMo, etc – and are using the grammar and writing lessons that Phillip has been giving them to write a narrative of their band in third person.

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The Yellow Band is doing a group project but each writing their own version of a zine with original writing and illustration from their arc. They are experimenting with making paper out of different materials for their covers and have been composing fiction and drawings for their pages.

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Students in the Red Band are collaborating to create a coauthored book about love and friendship. They are brainstorming together and splitting up the responsibilities of writing and illustrating a book, taking inspiration from their author study on Mo Willems. The book, they hope, will become a guidebook for incoming students next year and years after, and are playing with the idea of including ideas about love and friendship from older students at Brightworks.

We are excited to watch these projects develop and unfold, as well as continue to foster project management skills in our students as they iterate, create, explore, and do.